The Quirang, Skye, Scotland
I've often seen images of the Quirang so when we arranged a family holiday to Skye I realised this was the chance to ride there. The Quirang is part of the Trotternish ridge in the north of the island. It has been formed by a huge landslip which has left unique cliffs and pinnacles of rock. It is utterly stunning.
After doing some internet research we planned a route from the road starting just past Digg, back up the switchbacks climb then turning into the Quirang, descending back to the van. We were lucky with our timing as a few days earlier the road and Quirang had been closed for a Citroen advert shoot! The route was only 8.5 miles and approximately 1500 feet, but promised to feature some of the most dramatic scenery in the country.
I had been a little nervous about the road climb, on the map it looked almost alpine, but it was easy going. Once we reached the top of the ridge line we realised how busy the ride was going to be. Not with other riders, but with walkers. There were lines of cars, a coach, a burger van and lots of deck chairs! There were so many tourists milling around and taking in the views. But turning round, we could understand why. The views were spectacular, the ridge line stunning both north and south, the single track even better! From the road we could see the singletrack weaving the four miles through the Quirang, past the 'prison', the 'table' and through past majestic rocks.
We set out into the Quirang and despite the crowds managed to flow along without any problem. Most walkers smiled and wanted to talk about what we were doing.
The singletrack flowed well for about a mile, until a river crossing where the gill was set back in the cliff wall. This meant that we needed to scramble down to the river then scramble up the other side, with our bikes on our shoulders. It was a tricky move and if you are ever thinking of doing this ride, you need to be prepared for this, or take the alternative route to missed this out.
The track then narrowed with a fair bit of exposure on the right, but flowed well. We then met a steep path heading back down to the road to meet it just before the switch back climbs. You could come up this track into the Quirang to miss the river crossing, but you will miss a mile or so of singletrack if you do.
After scaling another small scramble section the trail led to one of the best sections of single track I've ever ridden. It only lasted 30 - 40 seconds, but it was so good we did it again! Dan actually did it three times. It was a mix of flowing and steep technical sections with technical rock gardens. It flowed so well, it was perfect.
The prison is the large dramatic cliff towering up on it's own set out from the main ridge. Under the prison the trail heads up steeply calling for a push for 5 minutes. Once at the top of this however, the trail heads down all the way back to the van. Again it was mostly flowy, some technical sections purely due to the boulders on the trail. You can take the trail all the way underneath the table, here is comes to a dead end and you retrace your steps. We had a look at this but decided that it wasn't worth riding.
Instead our trail pealed off to the right to descend to the van. The flow was great, just with the odd obstructive boulder too tricky to bunny hop over.
The track flew past a small lock where some people were swimming, and flowed really well for the rest of its course. We came out on the road 100 metres north of the van full of smiles and awe at such a majestic setting for a ride. In terms of riding, it is probably not the best trail you will ride due to the stop start sections, but it can't be beaten for location and jaw dropping scenery.